Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Good War 2.0?

Afghanistan went from the good war, to the war we escalated because it was the necessary war, to just another war being responsibly ended. The enemy voted against that. So it will be back to war, it seems:

Pressure is growing on the U.S. military to do more to help Afghan forces repel the threat posed by Taliban militants, and commanders in Washington and Kabul agree that enhanced air power may be where it can make the most difference.

With fewer American soldiers on the ground and their rules of engagement limited, the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, believes broader authorization of force is the best way of supporting stretched local troops.

And what we need is what I've had in mind (and many others mind you, I'm not some sole source of wisdom on this):

James Dobbins, a senior fellow to the RAND Corporation and a former Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said combat air support, casualty evacuations and intelligence and surveillance were among the priorities.

Have no doubt the help is needed:

In many ways, Afghan security forces are doing pretty well. But they are handicapped by needing to spread out to control territory (as a government must do) where they become vulnerable to attack; while the enemy can simply mass troops to hit those outposts and then fade away.

Our air support will improve Afghan morale by knowing help is on the way if the hold on in scattered outposts needed to spread control.

And with our sir support, the enemy can no longer mass as they can now and pick off those outposts. You'll recall that I've discussed atomizing the enemy back when Iraq War 1.0 was being waged.

Eventually, without our air support, Afghan troops would have to abandon those outposts to pull into bigger fortified bases and cities. Which would reduce the trickle of casualties but abandon the countryside to the enemy who could then build up power to eventually overwhelm the besieged defenders.

Eventually, our help has to include seizing the initiative from the enemy and going into their territory to hit them and start taking away their territory.

To really try to win the war, I'd add in Western special forces, advisers in the field to call in the air support, and a combat brigade to act as the fire brigade for emergencies. But I'll take baby steps to actually winning wars at this point--before the next president charges that his predecessor was "distracted" by Iraq War 2.0 from winning Afghanistan War 2.0.

UPDATE: Say, shouldn't the leftish Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine on intervention, which made a brief appearance for the 2011 Libya War, compel us to win this war?

Civilian casualties of the war in Afghanistan rose to record levels for the seventh year in row in 2015, as violence spread across the country in the wake of the withdrawal of most international troops, the United Nations reported on Sunday.

The UN even says this is "unacceptable!"